Although I have cooked from an early age, I was never confident with roasting meats until a few years ago. Even now, I rarely roast a large cut of meat, I’d be much more likely to slow cook it. That aside, I love roast dinners.
It’s no secret that I think my Choo Choo Nan (dad’s mum) makes the best roast dinner EVER! I remember visiting them when we were growing up and she would do roast pork or lamb with all of the trimmings including roast veg, gravy and even chokos in white sauce which my Pop had grown in the garden.
Key’s mum also deserves an honourable mention as her roast dinners are also fantastic. Roast chicken or pork (sometimes both), with potatoes that are soft and crunchy at the same time. Absolutely delicious and I only hope that one day, I can make a roast dinner like theirs.
Sometimes you just need a roast dinner and roast chicken is a classic. The chickens in Singapore are the freshest I’ve ever had. They have a tag on their leg stating when they were slaughtered and where they are from. They have normally come from Singapore’s neighbour, Malaysia and have a slaughter date of just one or two days ago. I’m sure good quality chooks in Australia are the same, but these chickens are cheap and they are the best I’ve ever cooked with. The first time I bought one, I was a bit shocked that Mr. Chicken still had his head and feet on, but now, it serves as a good reminder to respect what you are about to eat.
For about a year now, I’ve cooked my roast chook this way, making sure it was sitting on a sturdy cake rack while roasting. It produced good results but I was always having to convert the cooking time for the size of the chook and I always struggle with the trussing. Key recently discovered a new way to roast chook. Now this might be a bit controversial because it’s not a whole roast chook but it is the best roast chook that I’ve ever made.
We’ve made it twice now, once with a medium sized chicken (around 2kg) and once with quite a small chicken (around 1.2kg). Both times, the skin crisped right up but the meat stayed tender. No fuss with changing cooking times and so long as you have a good pair of kitchen scissors, I find removing the spine, much easier then trussing.
I use a non-stick cake rack and it sticks a little but not enough to worry about oiling the rack. If your rack is not non-stick, I’d recommend oiling it by wiping over it with paper towel and some olive oil.
Choose any seasonings and spices that you like. This is just a good basic recipe and served with some roast veggies and steamed green beans, makes an easy roast dinner.
Crispy skin AND juicy meat. Yum.
Easy Spatchcock Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken, head and feet removed if you live in Singapore :)
- The juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbs of olive oil
- 2 tsp of dried thyme or rosemary
- Sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to season
- Remove your chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before you plan to roast it. This will take some of the chill out of it and help it to cook more evenly.
- Pre-heat your oven to 220°C.
- After 30 mins, turn the chook over so the breasts are facing down. With your fingers, find the middle of the chicken. This is the spine and it runs all the way down the back of the chicken. Using kitchen scissors, cut down the edge of the spine bone starting from the cavity and moving lengthwise to the neck. There will be some hard bones at the start and end, but with sharp scissors and a bit of force you will be able to cut through them. Repeat on the other side so that the backbone comes out in one piece. If you need a bit of visual guidance, ask Martha Stewart. After all, this lady can fold a fitted sheet. Save and freeze the spine to make stock later if you wish. I’ll have a home made chicken stock recipe coming up soon.
- Turn the chicken over and press down on the breasts to lightly flatten.
- Use paper towels to dry off the skin, then rub with the olive oil, lemon juice and herbs.
- Place a sturdy cake rack into a baking dish and put the chicken onto it, skin side up.
- Sprinkle a good amount of sea salt flakes and pepper over the chicken.
- Roast for 45 minutes.
- Carve and serve with roast veggies or your choice of side dish. Cold leftovers are delicious in a salad too.